Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering September 11, 2001

I asked Karla if I could exchange dates with her for today, as this day has a special meaning for me, and she graciously said yes. We lost friends on this day, and this was my memorial to them, and to all who died that day.

It was almost midnight, September 11, 2001. My husband and I were exhausted. We had been glued to the TV since early morning, watching this unthinkable tragedy unfold before us. We had wept, together, privately, and I could take it no more. I told Richard I needed some time alone, and went out for a walk.

Outside, it was eerily quiet. Usually at night, you can hear frogs croaking, the crickets churring, the night wings of a bird late to roost. Bright eyes from some small animal would peer out of the bushes, or a possum or rabbit coming back from a late date would scurry across the street. Tonight it was strangely silent.

I leaned against the old wooden fence at the end of our road. It surrounded a farmhouse that had been there for over 100 years. Horses and cattle grazed along the hillsides, but tonight they were gone. All of them. Something else unusual.

I looked up at the sky and saw the moon and stars. But tonight, the moon just didn't look right, and the stars weren't twinkling. The moon looked like it had a fine layer of something red covering it. The logical part of my mind that was still operative said, it's just some kind of atmospheric event. It's not what you think. But the rest of my mind said, No, the moon is covered in blood.

There was a whirring of wings, and a large bird flew over my head and landed on the post next to me. It was a Golden Eagle, one of those who live and nest in my area of California. I was startled, as an eagle seldom lands without a warning scream. She was so close I could have touched her. She sat and stared at me. I stood quietly and stared back. We had a 'stare down' for several minutes. She wasn't about to move, and neither was I.

Finally, she stretched out her neck until her beak almost touched my arm. Then she gave a scream, flapped her wings, and flew off. She circled me once, almost touching my head. I wasn't afraid but I had no idea what she was doing. She circled me twice more, that gave a cry that sounded like someone screaming in pain, and flew off into the night.

I came home, sat down and wrote this poem.

And The Eagle Cried

She spread her wings and flew across the blue skies,
Rejoicing in the brilliance and freshness of the new day.
She swooped and swerved high over the towers below
Until the steel monster from the Land of Hate
Flew beneath her.

She watched, not understanding, as the towers she teased
Burst into fire, and flames and smoke turned her world dark.
She found a perch and folded her trembling wings
As all that she stood for crumbled around her.

And the Eagle cried.

She saw her land, her America, her land of Freedom,
For which she so proudly stood as a symbol
Falling, falling, falling into heaps of ash and debris.
She saw humans on fire, falling from what was left of the towers.
She saw fear turning into abject terror.

She watched her people cry, scream, run away
From a scene only imaginable in horror films.
But she knew this was no movie from which
She could easily fly away. There was no escape here.

And the Eagle cried.

The personification of Evil sat across miles of ocean
And clapped his hands, laughing as the pictures of
Death and destruction came to him over the television.
He couldn't have been happier: America was dying!

He was wrong. As Evil most often is.

They came from everywhere: the firemen, the police,
the doctors, nurses, the people on the street.
They gave no thought to their own lives or safety,
For they had a common purpose: to save those they could.
Many of those everyman and everywoman also died that day.

And the Eagle cried.

But America does not give in to those who exemplify hate,
Who would render God's grace and love impotent.
America is one land, one nation, one people
Indivisible by those who spread Hate around the world.

Americans will join hands around this great country
And show the world the Courage, the Dignity, and the
Unity we Americans are known for.

We wept today. We grieved today.
We will never forget today.
Today will join that other one and will live in infamy forever.
But we will be stronger, and we will be nobler because of today.

We are a grieving nation, but with that grief comes strength.
Our flags will fly higher and more proudly than ever.
Our tears will cleanse our souls, and God will hold
All of America in the palm of His hand, and give us solace.

And the Eagle will never cry again.